Cody Hanson, founding member and drummer with Hinder, chatted with Maine Music News on April 23, 2013. It was recently announced that Hinder is opening for Motley Crue on May 16, at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. During the interview, we discussed Hinder’s latest album, “Welcome to the Freakshow,” and talked about the challenges of working in today’s music industry.
MMN – Hey Cody, Welcome to Maine Music News. Hinder is going to be in Bangor in a couple of weeks, opening for Motley Crue on a few dates. Hinder toured with Motley Crue back in 2009. What was it like touring with them?
Hanson – It was great, we had a blast. Any time you get to tour with a band that you have looked up to your whole life, it is a great feeling.
MMN – Hinder released “Welcome to the Freakshow” back in December of 2012. Since then you have been out touring pretty hard. How has the tour been going?
Hanson – It has been great, man! All of the new material has been well received by the fans, and to be honest, that is all that we can ask for. It has been a lot of fun.
MMN – Hinder played at the Asylum in Portland, Maine back on March 2, 2013. How is it playing small shows like the Asylum versus playing some of the larger venues that you will be playing this summer?
Hanson – It is always different. It is kind of cool. We enjoy doing the small shows as much as we do the big shows. It is just a completely different vibe. Smaller shows are more intimate, and you can feed off the crowd a little more than you can in an arena. Going back and doing these small shows has given us a chance to go and work out the kinks in some of the new material. It takes a while when you get out on the road to get everything locked in. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity.
MMN – Can you talk about the process that went in to creating “Welcome to the Freakshow?”
Hanson – As far as the song writing process goes, it was not much different than it had been for the last record. We just went around and did the song writing circuit. We have our group of friends that we really like to write and co-write with.
It was a little bit different on the production side this time. Marshall Dutton and I have a production company called Back-Lounge Productions. This was our first Hinder record that we got to do all on our own without any outside influence as far as production goes. It was awesome. We got to do it in the studio that we have here at my house. It gave us the opportunity to really take our time and experiment with different sounds and production ideas. It made for a different record, but I think it is definitely a step in the right direction for us as a band.
MMN – In reviewing the writing credits, I noticed that you use a lot of co-writers. How hard is it working with so many different writers?
Hanson – It is not hard at all actually. It really depends on the people you write with. With some people, you can go into a room and you have great chemistry, and it is a lot of fun. Then, sometimes you get into a room and the magic is just not there. I just try to go around and grab as many people that I can and figure out which people I have the chemistry with. It is something that I enjoy doing, and I do it in my off time as much as I can.
MMN – I noticed in the list of writers that Richard Marx co-wrote on “I Don’t Want To Believe.” How did that come about?
Hanson – We were in Nashville, doing the rounds. That song was actually written for “All American Nightmare” and did not make the album. We knew it was a cool song, and knew we wanted to recycle it at some point. We got lucky and were able to do it on this album. It was cool, writing with Richard. He is a super talented guy and an amazing singer. When you are sitting in a room with him and he sings a melody, you are sold instantly, it is pretty cool.
MMN– James Michael of SIXX AM engineered the album. Can you talk about how it was working with him?
Hanson – It is always great working with him. We love James. He has become a really good friend of mine. I talk to him quite a bit. We sent the record around to several different mixers. I think we ended up sending it to 20 different guys. As soon as they came back, Marshall and I listened to all the mixes and knew immediately which one was James’s. We knew his style and loved it. It worked out prefect and was a lot of fun.
MMN – Can you talk about how it is working in the music industry today versus when you first started in 2001?
Hanson – It is a completely different world. To be honest, things are a lot more difficult, and you have to work a lot harder in many different areas than you previously had to. It is an interesting game. You are always having to stay on your toes and having to come up with new ways to get your music out to the fans. There is a lot more music out there now. It is tough to stay on top, that is for sure.
MMN – In the old days, when a fan wanted new music they would go to the record store and purchase a vinyl album or a cd. In preparation for this interview, I was not able to get a copy of the album from the publicist in time. However, I was able to find it on Spotify and listened to it half a dozen times. That got me thinking, do the bands actually make any money off these types of services?
Hanson – Yes, we are able to make a little bit of money as far as Spotify goes. Most of it goes back to the label. It is not like it would be if someone goes out and purchases the record on iTunes or buys it in a record store. Unfortunately, while it may be a good tool for people to hear your music, you do not make a lot of money off the streaming sites. It is unfortunate, especially for new artists coming out. It is tough to make money and tough to survive as a band.
MMN – What is the best way for a fan to support their favorite bands?
Hanson – Anytime you can purchase music instead of streaming it. Anytime you can buy it from iTunes or a record store, that is awesome. Other than that, I would say go see your favorite bands live. Go to a show. Purchase a t-shirt. Perhaps pick up a CD at the show. Just get out and follow them.
Everyone’s attention span is so short, that is part of the problem now. You can easily jump from one thing to the next so quickly. It is all good as long as people are paying attention to a band or an artist. It seems that too many people these days are paying attention to a specific song. They tend to focus on that song but forget about the band.
On “Welcome to the Freakshow,” you will notice that it does not really have a theme. We just tried to make each song as good as it could be. We tried to make 11 singles. We were not worried about a theme for the album. I think that is what you have to do now and not worry about trying to tell a complete story throughout your album.
I think in the future, you will see bands coming out with a small number of songs at a time. Whether it is one song, three or four songs at a time, I think the days of getting full albums from bands are going to go away shortly.
MMN – Can you talk about your first single on “Welcome to the Freakshow,” “Save Me?”
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Hanson – I think that was one of the last songs that we wrote for the album. It was one of those things where everywhere we go, people are always trying to preach to us, telling us how to live our lives. We have built a reputation, not necessarily on purpose. People keep telling us, it is time for you to grow up or time to slow down on your drinking, or whatever it may be. We like to think we have lived a lot of life, a lot more life than most people. We have learned how to handle this stuff on our own. We do not need people telling us what to do. Hence the title, get out of my face, I do not need you to “Save Me,” I can do it myself.
MMN – And your latest single “Should Have Known Better?”
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Hanson – That is actually my favorite song on the album, and one of my favorites that we have done. I think it is a cool song, one that people can relate to. I think everyone has been in that situation where you have been in a relationship, and you know that person is bad for you, and all your friends tell you “hey you need to look at this a little closer,” but you ignore it, for whatever reason. I think everyone has been through that. I love the song, and hopefully people can relate and will call in to their local radio stations and request it.
MMN – What do you want your fans to know about “Welcome to the Freakshow” that they may not already know about it?
Hanson – If you listen to the whole album, every song is completely different. I think there is something for everyone on this album. Whether you are a hard rock fan, a pop music fan, or even like country. There is a little of that on there, or at least some country influence. There is a little bit of everything. So hopefully people will go out, buy the album, and give the whole thing a shot.
MMN – What can your fans expect when they come to see you open up for Motley Crue on May 16 at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine?
Hanson – We try to make all of our shows a party. We mess around with each other on stage, play jokes, and have a good time. We just hope that all of our fans come to the show and live it up and have fun. That is what it is all about. We try not to plan too much out and have a good time and play the show and let whatever happens happen.
MMN – Cody, I want to thank you for your time. I really appreciate it, and look forward to getting to see the show in a few weeks.
Hanson – Right on, man, thank you very much. I really appreciate it and I hope we will see you at the show.